Sorry, She Doesn’t Live Here Any More

Twenty-six years. More than a quarter century.
With a few more kilometers left to travel to reach Ralf Ganj, recently renamed as Raj Ganj, I suddenly had my doubts whether all this was necessary.
This had been gnawing me from the core of my being all these years. My doctors could never ferret it out. It really took a solitary hermit to see my problem clearly and suggest a solution.
“It’s not for him, my son, you’re doing it. It’s for you. Consider yourself lucky. Many people go through their life without realizing their past mistakes, how they had hurt people. They are blind about themselves. It is the ego.”
“But, I don’t know where she is…”
“There are a lot of things you don’t know.”
“O K I get it. I’ll find out.”
Sifting through the facebook jungle, gmail junk and the wilderness of communities on the net, finally I spotted her.”
Living with her daughter, at Raj Ganj, a two-hour journey from Chathisgad.
He husband had died three years ago. He was an engineer.
I got a call from my daughter. She was enjoying her lunch at the business school in Hyderabad. I told her I hadn’t reached the spot. The call got cut abruptly. No signals here. Four thousand and three hundred miles above sea level. Thickly wooded on either side of the road. The bus suddenly swung either way once and my heart skipped a beat.
There were more people sitting on the roof than inside the bus. It must be cheaper that way.
Why did she choose this remote area to settle down? She used to talk a lot about beaches and cities. What would have gone wrong with her journey to take such a U-turn?
The bus was negotiating a hairpin curve.
My wife had said that it was only necessary to write a letter of apology to her. But the sage insisted that I should go in person.
I should have brought my family and stayed around for a couple of days. The place was awesome. Three more kilometers to go.
The town was beautiful from a distance from where you can’t see the details. Or smell it.
I fished out the address written in an alien language and went around the town. Those who read it looked at me with suspicion.
I suddenly remembered that there were some incidents of insurgence happening around there. They might be wondering who this alien was.
After almost a dozen of stern faces, I was lucky. I was shown the right direction.
Seven minutes later, I knocked on her door and was told, rather politely by and old man with a pointed mustache that she didn’t live there any more.
I caught the return bus which started half an hour later. There was no crowd. And on my way back the path through the woods was even more beautiful.

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